State’s bold emissions targets enshrined into law

Fraser Barton |

A 50 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2035 have been made law in Queensland.
A 50 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2035 have been made law in Queensland.

The path to net zero emissions has been enshrined into law in Queensland as it navigates the path away from fossil fuels and towards a renewable future.

And the state LNP opposition has backed the bold emission reduction targets despite the stance of its federal counterparts, in what’s been called a breakthrough by a national conservation group.

Queensland relies on fossil fuel generation for electricity and minerals exports, but will move away from that as the government legislates renewables targets over the next 11 years.

A bold vision towards 50 per cent emissions reductions targets by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2035 has been enshrined into Queensland law.

The reforms also lock in an 80 per cent renewable energy generation target by 2035 and entrench public ownership of energy assets. 

Workers at publicly-owned energy assets will receive financial support, training and jobs as part of a security guarantee legislated on Thursday.

Premier Steven Miles said the government had made law a commitment to protect industries, the security of energy workers and a plan to achieve net zero emissions.

“For me, it’s the combination of more than 16 years of work, first as an activist, then as a minister and now as the state’s premier,” he said.

“Just as previous generations used our natural resources to lock in the prosperity that we enjoy today, we can use our renewable energy resources with deep storage to deliver that same kind of prosperity to future generations.”

Two bills passed state parliament on Thursday, the Energy (renewable transformation and jobs) Bill and the Clean Economy Jobs Bill. 

The LNP opposition did not support legislating the emissions targets in the Energy Bill but voted in favour of the targets.

Only Katter’s Australia Party MPs and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation voted against the Clean Economy Jobs bill, the outcome 84-3.

Opposition environment spokesperson Sam O’Connor said a shift to a cleaner economy was a once-in-a-generation opportunity and putting aside the economic side of the LNP’s position, he recognised the threat of climate change to Queensland’s unique and precious biodiversity.

“We must do all we can to become more sustainable so Queenslanders for many generations to come can continue to enjoy the unrivalled natural beauty our state is defined by,” he told parliament on Wednesday.

Support from the LNP towards emissions targets was dubbed a breakthrough by the Australian Conservation Fund.

But it said Queenslanders should be given a plan by the LNP before the election on October 26 on how it will meet the 75 per cent targets.

“If the LNP is fair dinkum, it needs to outline a detailed plan for Queensland’s clean energy transition before the election,” fund spokesman Gavan McFadzean said. 

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said the onus was now on the federal government to lift its climate targets.

“If a state with a significant resource sector such as Queensland can set an emissions reduction target of 75 per cent by 2035, then the federal government can and must go higher,” the society’s Lisa Schindler said.